Ghost Heart; In honor of Valentine’s Day

Heart transplants have been around for over forty years, saving lives, inspiring Lifetime movies and sort of freaking me out. The idea of my own organs in my chest makes me all squicky, never mind somebody else’s plugged in and mine out in the ether somewhere I can’t keep an eye on them. Luckily for me, but mostly for people in need of heart transplants, there’s a new technology on the horizon– the Ghost Heart.

Credit: Doris Taylor

We steal the hearts of our unearthly enemies.

Ghost Hearts have been developed out of rat hearts, and more recently, out of out of pig hearts. The organs collected from the pig sacrifices are laundered in sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical found in many shampoos. The solution launders the organ of its cells, leaving only the “scaffolding” of collagen. These husks can then be injected with the donor’s heart cells, so there is no risk of the organ being rejected. If you’ve got a spare pig heart and feel the urge to experiment, check out this how-to for making your very own ghost heart.

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